2010 Record (Ranking): 47-17 (7).
Coach (Record at school): Kevin O'Sullivan (123-63, 3 years).
Postseason History: 26 regional appearances (active streak: 3 years), 6 CWS appearances (last in 2010), 0 national titles.
|C||Mike Zunino, So.||.267/.314/.472||9||41||8|
|1B||Brian Johnson, So.||.405/.458/.631||4||21||0|
|2B||Josh Adams, Sr.||.224/.316/.392||9||42||6|
|3B||Austin Maddox, So.||.333/.363/.587||17||72||0|
|SS||Nolan Fontana, So.||.287/.437/.417||3||23||11|
|LF||Tyler Thompson, Jr.||.301/.360/.493||6||28||6|
|CF||Kamm Washington, So.||.308/.416/.400||1||6||8|
|RF||Preston Tucker, Jr.||.331/.436/.551||11||49||8|
|DH||Ben McMahan, Jr.||.325/.346/.442||2||11||4|
|LHP||Brian Johnson, So.||6-4||4.03||74||51||0|
|RHP||Hudson Randall, So.||8-4||3.24||97||69||0|
|LHP||Alex Panteliodis, Jr.||11-3||3.51||100||82||0|
|RP||Steven Rodriguez, So.||2-0||2.57||28||26||1|
|Hitting: 65. The Gators return eight everyday starters from last year's College World Series team, including four players who earned first-team freshman All-America honors. That quartet—Fontana, Zunino, Maddox and Johnson—just scratched the surface of their offensive ability in 2010, and all four should take major steps forward as sophomores. The scrappy Fontana is the engine atop Florida's lineup. He, Tucker and Adams are all patient, disciplined hitters who rack up walks and drive up pitch counts. Adams slumped as a junior but should return to being an offensive force as a senior. Upperclassmen Bryson Smith and Daniel Pigott give the Gators quality bats off the bench.
Speed: 50. Adams and Fontana are average runners who pick their spots on the basepaths. Washington is the lineup's lone burner.
Defense: 70. The Gators are rock-solid up the middle. Fontana (.986 fielding percentage last year) and Adams (.984) might be the nation's most reliable double-play tandem, and Zunino has plus defensive ability behind the plate. Washington will be tasked with replacing elite center fielder Matt den Dekker, but he has the speed and instincts to handle it. The corners will be key: Maddox must continue to improve at third base, and Tucker needs to show he can handle an outfield spot full-time, though he'll slide back to first base when Johnson pitches.
Starting Pitching: 65. Florida is so absurdly deep on the mound that a junior who won 11 games last year (Panteliodis) is battling for a weekend rotation spot with an electric freshman who was the No. 9 overall pick in the 2010 draft (RHP Karsten Whitson). With a fastball that reaches the mid-90s and a plus slider in the 80-84 range, Whitson has premium stuff and solid control for his age. Panteliodis is coming off hip surgery, so the Gators could take it slow with him early in the season, but he should be 100 percent around opening day. The staff is fronted by a pair of returning freshman All-Americans in Johnson (a competitive, polished three-pitch lefty) and Randall (a strike-throwing, groundball machine).
Bullpen: 75. You won't find a deeper bullpen in college baseball than the one in Gainesville. The lone question mark is who will replace closer Kevin Chapman, but Florida has no shortage of qualified candidates. Rodriguez is the favorite, thanks to his fierce mound presence, darting fastball and quality change. One-time blue-chip recruits Jr. LHP Nick Maronde and Jr. RHP Anthony DeSclafani have been passed on the depth chart while they've worked to harness their command, but both still have excellent stuff. LHP Daniel Gibson plus RHPs Tommy Toledo, Justin Poovey, Greg Larson, Michael Heller and Keenan Kish would all be key pieces in most other pitching staffs; at Florida, they bring high-quality depth.
Experience/Intangibles: 70. Florida returns the overwhelming majority of a roster that reached Omaha last year. The coaching staff has quickly developed a reputation for excelling at teaching the game and getting the most out of its players.
Baseball America OFP: 75. Florida has no discernable weakness and enters the season as a strong bet to win its first national title.
2010 Record (Ranking): 51-17 (2).
Coach (Record at school): John Savage (192-167, 6 years).
Postseason History: 16 regional appearances (active streak: 1), 3 CWS appearance (last in 2010), 0 national titles.
|C||Steve Rodriguez, Jr.||.249/.360/.436||8||37||1|
|1B||Trevor Brown, So.||.300/.382/.367||1||9||3|
|2B||Tyler Rahmatulla, Jr.||.328/.434/.509||7||45||13|
|3B||Cody Regis, So.||.312/.420/.556||9||47||7|
|SS||Pat Valaika, Fr.||HS—Valencia, Calif.|
|LF||Cody Keefer, So.||.318/.450/.419||2||31||1|
|CF||Beau Amaral, So.||.354/.442/.462||4||31||9|
|RF||Jeff Gelalich, So.||.321/.465/.474||2||13||7|
|DH||Dean Espy, Jr.||.345/.395/.575||9||52||8|
|RHP||Gerrit Cole, Jr.||11-4||3.37||123||153||0|
|RHP||Trevor Bauer, Jr.||12-3||3.02||131||165||0|
|RHP||Adam Plutko, Fr.||HS—Glendora, Calif.|
|RP||Nick Vander Tuig, Fr.||HS—Oakdale, Calif.|
Power: 40. Hitting coach Rick Vanderhook's offense relies on grinding out at-bats, manufacturing runs and driving the gaps, rather than waiting for long balls. No Bruin reached double digits in homers last year, and the new bats further sapped the team's power in fall ball. Espy, Rahmatulla, Regis and Rodriguez have occasional pop, however.
Speed: 55. Though UCLA lost its best basestealer in Niko Gallego, the Bruins have good overall team speed, led by plus runners Amaral and Gelalich.
Defense: 65. The Bruins have proven, standout defenders up the middle in Rodriguez, Rahmatulla and Amaral. Rodriguez earned a spot on Team USA last summer based on his catch-and-throw skills and ability to handle a pitching staff. Brown, Regis, Gelalich and Keefer are excellent athletes on the corners. The major question is how Valaika will handle the everyday shortstop job; he impressed with his ability to make all the routine plays in the fall, but he isn't spectacular.
Starting Pitching: 70. Cole and Bauer form the nation's premier one-two punch on the mound, and both could be drafted in the top 10 overall picks in June. Both are ultra-competitive, both throw strikes, and both have plus or better stuff across the board. Plutko figures to be one of the nation's top freshmen, thanks to a smooth, repeatable delivery and the ability to pound the strike zone with three quality pitches. Fellow Fr. RHP Zack Weiss has explosive stuff and demonstrated improved command in the fall, making him the likely midweek starter.
Bullpen: 55. The bullpen was UCLA's largely unsung hero in 2010, and the Bruins must replace stalwarts Dan Klein, Matt Grace and Erik Goeddel. The power-armed Vander Tuig reminds the Bruins of Klein and will get first crack at the closer job. Fr. RHP Eric Jaffe, who transferred from Cal this winter and was ruled eligible for this spring, is another power-armed closer candidate, with a fastball that reaches 95 and a wipeout curve at times. So. RHP Scott Griggs can run his heater up to the mid-90s and is making progress with his command and mechanics. This unit lack lefties, so hulking, funky Jr. LHP Mitchell Beacom is a crucial piece.
Experience/Intangibles: 70. The Bruins finally lived up to their potential in 2010, reaching Omaha for the first time since 1997 and falling two wins shy of their first national title. They proved their toughness and resilience all season—particularly in a thrilling super regional triumph over nemesis Cal State Fullerton.
Baseball America OFP: 70. Cole and Bauer alone would make UCLA a strong national title contender, but the Bruins have also enough quality parts in the lineup to make another deep Omaha run.
|3. Texas Christian|
2010 Record (Ranking): 54-14 (3).
Coach (Record at school): Jim Schlossnagle (305-134, 7 years).
Postseason History: 9 regional appearances (active streak: 7), 1 CWS appearance (2010), 0 national titles.
|C||Josh Elander, So.||.356/.403/.617||2||33||11|
|1B||Joe Weik, Sr.||.357/.417/.580||6||29||0|
|2B||Jerome Pena, Sr.||.313/.386/.510||11||52||7|
|3B||Jantzen Witte, So.||.374/.425/.552||4||39||2|
|SS||Taylor Featherston, Jr.||.338/.420/.571||8||52||6|
|LF||Jason Coats, Jr.||.361/.403/.617||13||69||8|
|CF||Aaron Schultz, Jr.||.293/.371/.482||9||53||11|
|RF||Brance Rivera, Jr.||.342/.404/.481||6||28||9|
|DH||Kyle Von Tungeln, So.||.236/.364/.326||0||16||3|
|LHP||Matt Purke, So.||16-0||3.02||116||142||0|
|RHP||Kyle Winkler, Jr.||12-3||3.39||117||92||0|
|RHP||Steven Maxwell, Sr.||11-2||2.70||103||93||0|
|RP||Erik Miller, Jr.||1-1||4.67||27||30||0|
Hitting: 60. TCU returns seven regulars from one of the nation's best hitting teams. Schultz and Rivera are good contact hitters who can handle the bat, and TCU needs Von Tungeln to tap into his slasher potential to give the lineup a much-needed lefty. The energetic Pena is a dangerous hitter from both sides of the plate, but the lineup lacks another lefthanded presence. Featherston, Witte, Weik and Elander use the gaps very well, and Coats is the best overall hitter on the team.
Power: 50. Departed seniors Bryan Holaday and Matt Curry combined for 35 of TCU's 101 homers a year ago, and the 2011 Horned Frogs figure to be less physical. Coats has big power potential, Pena has average pop and Elander has the strength to significantly increase his long ball output, but the rest of the lineup is filled with gap hitters more than sluggers.
Speed: 55. Stolen bases aren't a huge part of TCU's attack, but the Frogs have good speed in the outfield, led by the lightning-fast Von Tungeln. The athletic Elander runs very well for a catcher.
Defense: 55. TCU will have its hands full replacing Holaday, perhaps the nation's premier defensive catcher a year ago. The Frogs hope Elander and Jimmie Pharr can provide at least adequate defense behind the plate. The gritty Featherston has become a more consistent shortstop, while Pena and Witte are strong defenders at second and third. Schultz has tremendous instincts and an accurate arm in center, while Coats and Rivera have good range on the corners.
Bullpen: 55. The Frogs will miss departed bullpen mainstays Tyler Lockwood, Paul Gerrish and Eric Marshall, plus power-armed RHP Kaleb Merck, who will miss the season after having Tommy John surgery. Miller dropped his arm slot in the fall, giving his 87-94 fastball added life, and he can throw his changeup and slider for strikes in any count. Sr. RHP Trent Appleby is a funky sidearmer with good deception, and the Frogs have high hopes for talented Fr. RHPs Andrew Mitchell and Stefan Crichton.
Experience/Intangibles: 70. TCU will sorely miss Holaday's leadership, but there are plenty of savvy veterans back from last year's CWS team. It's also a team full of grinders who do not give in.
Baseball America OFP: 65. The balanced, experienced Horned Frogs have a strong chance to ride their stellar starting pitching back to Omaha and compete for a title.
2010 Record (Ranking): 46-20 (14).
Coach (Record at school): Tim Corbin (322-177, 8 years).
Postseason History: 9 regional appearances (active streak: 5), 0 CWS appearances.
|C||Curt Casali, Sr.||.309/.446/.520||8||42||3|
|1B||Aaron Westlake, Jr.||.308/.404/.538||14||61||6|
|2B||Riley Reynolds, Jr.||.209/.355/.244||0||7||2|
|3B||Jason Esposito, Jr.||.359/.455/.599||12||64||31|
|SS||Anthony Gomez, So.||.379/.418/.453||2||30||9|
|LF||Mike Yastrzemski, So.||.260/.347/.397||3||18||5|
|CF||Connor Harrell, So.||.300/.378/.414||3||39||5|
|RF||Joe Loftus, Jr.||.277/.361/.451||8||39||4|
|DH||Conrad Gregor, Fr.||HS—Carmel, Ind.|
|RHP||Sonny Gray, Jr.||10-5||3.48||109||113||1|
|LHP||Grayson Garvin, Jr.||1-1||1.25||36||38||1|
|RHP||Jack Armstrong, Jr.||7-4||4.71||78||50||0|
|RP||Navery Moore, Jr.||2-0||9.24||13||16||0|
Hitting: 65. Vanderbilt returns its top five hitters from last year's super regional team, and seven everyday starters overall. The Commodores led the Southeastern Conference and ranked ninth nationally in doubles a year ago, demonstrating their ability to wear out the gaps. Westlake, who won the SEC batting title two years ago, and Esposito are two of the nation's best pure hitters. Gomez and Reynolds are pesky contact hitters and tough outs. Harrell and Yastrzemski—grandson of the majors' last Triple Crown winner—are talented hitters poised to break out as sophomores. Casali and Loftus have strength and experience.
Speed: 55. Vanderbilt's athletic lineup features solid runners all over the diamond, but Fr. OF Tony Kemp—who was pushing for an everyday job with a strong fall—is the only true burner. Esposito runs very well for a third baseman and has excellent instincts on the basepaths.
Defense: 55. Vandy will miss the steady Brian Harris at shortstop, and Gomez must prove he can handle the transition across the keystone sack. Tommy John surgery has kept Casali from catching much in his college career, so he enters the season as a question mark behind the plate. But Esposito is the best defensive third baseman in the country aside from Anthony Rendon, with sure hands, quick feet and solid range. Reynolds and the outfielders are solid.
Starting Pitching: 70. No team in college baseball can match Vandy's four quality upperclassmen in the rotation. Gray is a dynamo with a lively 93-96 mph fastball, a mid-80s power curve that rates as the best in the country, a fierce competitive streak and ever-improving command. Garvin's feel for pitching and downward angle helped him carve up the Cape Cod League, where he earned pitcher of the year honors. The physical Armstrong has premium arm strength; he has flashed mid-90s heat and a good changeup in the past, but if he doesn't improve his breaking ball and command, Sr. RHP Taylor Hill could beat him out for the Sunday job. Hill is a strike-thrower with a solid three-pitch mix.
Bullpen: 65. By the end of the season, this unit has a chance to be exceptional, but it lacks experience heading into the year. Moore was a blue-chip prospect before Tommy John surgery sidetracked his career, but he showed off an explosive 93-96 fastball in the fall. Another Tommy John survivor, Sr. RHP Mark Lamm, jumped into the 90-94 range this fall. Fr. LHP Kevin Ziomek is a future ace in waiting, but for now he figures to take his stellar four-pitch mix to the bullpen. Lefthanders Sam Selman, Corey Williams and Steven Rice, plus righties T.J. Pecoraro, Will Clinard and Robert Hansen make this one of the deeper bullpens around.
Experience/Intangibles: 60. Vanderbilt is loaded with experienced players and is consistently regarded by scouts as one of the best-coached, hardest-working teams in college baseball. Coming off a super regional trip, all that's left is to get over the hump to Omaha.
Baseball America OFP: 65. This is Vandy's best chance to break through to the CWS since its 2007 team, which was upset in regionals as the No. 1 national seed. Even a national title could be within Vanderbilt's reach.
2010 Record (Ranking): 50-18 (5).
Coach (Record at school): Sonny Galloway (220-116-1, 5 years).
Postseason History: 32 regional appearances (active streak: 3), 10 CWS appearances (last in 2010), 2 national titles (last in 1994).
|C||Tyler Ogle, Jr.||.331/.439/.601||11||46||4|
|1B||Cameron Seitzer, Jr.||.305/.431/.600||16||53||2|
|2B||Max White, So.||.293/.345/.572||15||43||7|
|3B||Garrett Buechele, Jr.||.359/.438/.630||17||65||3|
|SS||Caleb Bushyhead, Jr.||.327/.380/.482||6||40||13|
|LF||Erik Ross, Jr.||.194/.333/.224||0||8||12|
|CF||Chris Ellison, Jr.||.326/.426/.472||4||32||24|
|RF||Cody Reine, Jr.||.340/.445/.611||10||42||4|
|DH||Drew Harrison, So.||.243/.295/.443||3||14||0|
|RHP||Michael Rocha, Sr.||8-2||3.53||74||55||0|
|RHP||Bobby Shore, Sr.||10-5||4.12||94||77||0|
|RHP||Burch Smith, Jr.||11-2||2.50||90||79||0|
|RP||Ryan Duke, Sr.||3-2||3.75||36||39||12|
Power: 65. White has legitimate big league power, while Buechele, Seitzer, Ogle and Reine are accomplished college sluggers. Harrison also has huge power potential, though he has yet to prove himself at the collegiate level.
Speed: 55. Ellison and Ross are speed merchants, while Bushyhead and White are solid runners. The Sooners will not be afraid to let them run on the basepaths—it's all part of the high-pressure offensive philosophy. Buechele, Seitzer, Reine and Ogle are base-cloggers, however.
Defense: 55. Buechele, Ogle, Ellison and Ross are strong defenders, and Bushyhead is solid when healthy. But Bushyhead will likely miss the first month of the season while recovering from a torn ACL, so the Sooners will turn to sophomore two-way player Jack Mayfield (and perhaps also junior-college transfer Evan Mistich) to fill in. Mayfield's range and arm strength should play at short, but it remains to be seen if White has the actions and mobility to successfully convert from the outfield to second base.
Starting Pitching: 55. With a fastball that reaches the mid-90s, Smith has top-of-the-rotation stuff, and how he handles the transition from junior-college competition to the Big 12 will be critical. Rocha's four-pitch mix, savvy and build prompt the Sooners to envision him as their version of former South Carolina ace Blake Cooper. Like Rocha, Shore works in the 87-91 range but has good command and feel for four pitches. So. LHP Ryan Gibson figures to be a reliable midweek starter.
Bullpen: 60. In Duke, the Sooners have a rare luxury: a senior with two years and 26 saves worth of experience in the closer role. He attacks hitters with an 87-91 fastball and a good slider. But Oklahoma will sorely miss departed setup man Jeremy Erben. The athletic Mayfield—a savvy pitch-maker like Erben—is the most likely candidate to fill that role, but quick-armed Fr. LHP Dillon Overton and Sr. RHP Tyson Seng (back from a year off to play for the OU basketball team) will also be key figures.
Experience/Intangibles: 75. The Sooners are one of the few top contenders with experience at the front and back of their pitching staff, plus Omaha veterans all over the diamond. Buechele is one of the great leaders in college baseball, giving OU's outstanding staff another coach on the field.
Baseball America OFP: 65. Oklahoma lacks the elite arms of UCLA, TCU, Florida and Vanderbilt, but it makes up for it with loads of offensive firepower and a roster full of experienced winners.
2010 Record (Ranking): 50-13 (9).
Coach (Record at school): Augie Garrido (617-282, 14 years).
Postseason History: 54 regional appearances (active streak: 12), 33 CWS appearances (last in 2009), 6 national titles (last in 2005).
|C||Lucas Kephart, Jr.||Tr.—Sacramento (Calif.) CC|
|1B||Tant Shepherd, Sr.||.337/.425/.528||8||37||14|
|2B||Jordan Etier, Jr.||.224/.321/.415||9||33||14|
|3B||Kevin Lusson, Jr.||.263/.389/.522||14||48||6|
|SS||Brandon Loy, Jr.||.252/.359/.332||1||24||12|
|LF||Johnathan Walsh, So.||.273/.345/.481||3||20||1|
|CF||Cohl Walla, So.||.316/.357/.491||8||40||14|
|RF||Mark Payton, Fr.||HS—Orland Park, Ill.|
|DH||Christian Summers, Fr.||HS—San Angelo, Texas|
|RHP||Taylor Jungmann, Jr.||8-3||2.03||120||129||0|
|RHP||Cole Green, Sr.||11-2||2.74||112||75||0|
|LHP||Sam Stafford, Jr.||0-0||2.61||21||29||0|
|RP||Hoby Milner, So.||3-1||1.97||32||31||0|
Hitting: 50. Offense was not the Longhorns' strength a year ago, and they must replace four mainstays in the lineup. But leading hitter Shepherd—a patient, mature veteran—returns, as does the explosive Walla, who should build upon his freshman All-America 2010 with added strength. Etier and Loy must hit better than they did a year ago, but both are skilled bat-handlers. Payton is a gifted contact hitter who should be a sparkplug from the outset of his career.
Power: 35. Texas will miss thumpers Cameron Rupp, Kevin Keyes and Russell Moldenhauer, who combined for 34 of the team's 81 homers last year. Lusson and Walsh have power potential from both sides of the plate, while Summers and Etier supply occasional surprising pop also, but this will not be an offense geared toward the long ball. The new bats will make homers very rare at spacious Disch-Falk Field. But as one Texas area scout put it, "The new bats won't affect them, because all they do is bunt."
Speed: 60. The Longhorns are an athletic bunch, and they figure to run more frequently in 2011. Walla and Payton can fly around the basepaths and in the outfield. Loy, Summers and Etier are good runners with plenty of baserunning savvy, while Shepherd's fringy speed plays up because of his instincts. Even Lusson and Walsh move well for power-hitting corners.
Defense: 70. As usual, Texas should excel at run prevention. The infield defense might be the nation's best, with above-average or better defenders at all four positions. Summers is a defensive dynamo-in-waiting, giving the unit enviable depth. Walla and Payton have both range and strong arms in the outfield. The only question mark is behind the plate, but Texas likes Kephart's receiving skills.
Bullpen: 65. Texas must replace the nation's best closer in Chance Ruffin, but the remaining bullpen is deep and talented. Assuming Milner doesn't slide into the weekend rotation, he has the moxie and the command of a quality four-pitch mix to succeed at the back of the bullpen. Lefthanded specialist Andrew McKirahan is back, and bulldog Sr. RHP Stayton Thomas should thrive as the setup man. Dicharry, Nuncio and Urban have very good arms and give Texas excellent flexibility.
Experience/Intangibles: 70. The joint mystique of the Texas tradition and coaching legend Augie Garrido gives the 'Horns a mental edge nearly every time they step on the field. This group also has experience and leadership in the rotation and the infield, though it will also rely on some unproven players elsewhere.
Baseball America OFP: 65. The Longhorns fell one win shy of their second straight Omaha trip in 2010. Their pitching and defense give them a strong chance to get back there in 2011.
|7. South Carolina|
2010 Record (Ranking): 54-16 (1).
Coach (Record at school): Ray Tanner (634-282, 14 years).
Postseason History: 26 regional appearances (active streak: 11), 9 CWS appearances (last in 2010), 1 national title (2010).
|C||Dante Rosenberg, Jr.||Tr.—Palm Beach (Fla.) CC|
|1B||Christian Walker So.||.327/.384/.518||9||51||2|
|2B||Scott Wingo, Sr.||.247/.409/.455||9||31||2|
|3B||Adrian Morales, Sr.||.273/.348/.445||9||56||5|
|SS||Peter Mooney, Jr.||Tr.—Palm Beach (Fla.) CC|
|LF||Evan Marzilli, So.||.385/.513/.571||3||12||8|
|CF||Jackie Bradley, Jr.||.368/.473/.587||13||60||7|
|RF||Adam Matthews, Jr.||.307/.392/.503||7||31||7|
|DH||Michael Roth, Jr.||.111/.200/.444||1||1||0|
|LHP||Tyler Webb, So.||3-2||3.96||36||36||0|
|LHP||Michael Roth, Jr.||2-1||1.34||40||35||3|
|LHP||Nolan Belcher, Jr.||3-1||2.43||30||32||0|
|RP||Matt Price, So.||2-1||1.34||56||83||10|
Hitting: 60. Scoring runs was a challenge at times for the Gamecocks in 2010, and they lost one of their primary catalysts when Whit Merrifield signed as a ninth-round pick. Still, the lineup is anchored by one of the best hitters in college baseball in Bradley, poised for a monstrous year now that his broken hamate bone is nearly a full year behind him. Walker has excellent hand-eye coordination and strikes out seldom for a power hitter. Morales is a tough out with a knack for delivering clutch hits, and Marzilli figures to build on his stellar College World Series and emerge as a true star. Mooney will be a catalyst atop the lineup. Rosenberg and Wingo are known more for their defense, but Wingo led South Carolina in hitting in the fall.
Power: 60. Walker and Bradley have proven they can hit the ball out of the park to all fields. Marzilli and Matthews are strong enough to reach double digits in homers, as is Roth, who showed surprising pop in the fall. Morales also has some power.
Speed: 55. Ray Tanner's teams rarely lean heavily on stolen bases, but these Gamecocks do have solid team speed. Marzilli, Bradley, and Mooney are all solid-average or better runners, and the athletic Matthews runs the 60-yard dash in 6.5 seconds, making him one of the nation's fastest players.
Defense: 65. South Carolina's speed will play more here. Strong defense is a hallmark of Tanner teams (the Gamecocks led the nation in defensive efficiency last year), and this group should be no exception, though it must replace two up-the-middle stalwarts in departed shortstop Bobby Haney and catcher Kyle Enders. Mooney has the tools to thrive at short alongside Wingo, an elite defender at second. Rosenberg has very good catch-and-throw skills and took "total control of our pitching staff" in the fall, according to the coaches. Morales and both corner outfielders are strong defenders, and Bradley is the best defensive outfielder in the country.
Starting Pitching: 45. The greatest challenge facing the Gamecocks this year will be replacing Blake Cooper and Sam Dyson, who were their only consistently reliable starting pitchers in 2010, and who played huge roles in their championship run. But South Carolina has a deep stable of starting candidates, led by Webb, who has three quality pitches and issued just one walk in his stellar fall. Roth, a one-time lefthanded specialist who provided two heroic starts in Omaha, has advanced feel for pitching and showed more velocity in the fall. The diminutive Belcher and the hulking So. LHP Adam Westmoreland were key parts in 2008 before being derailed last year by confidence issues and Tommy John surgery, respectively. So. RHP Colby Holmes could factor into the mix.
Experience/Intangibles: 70. South Carolina showed uncanny resilience in marching through the loser's bracket to win the national title, and the core of that team returns, but the weekend rotation is unproven, and first-year starters at key positions up the middle must perform.
Baseball America OFP: 65. If the retooled weekend rotation does what South Carolina's coaches believe it can, the Gamecocks have a legitimate shot to get back to Omaha and make a run at another championship.
|8. Cal State Fullerton|
2010 Record (Ranking): 46-18 (11).
Coach (Record at school): Dave Serrano (134-56, 3 years).
Postseason History: 32 regional appearances (active streak: 19), 16 CWS appearances (last in 2009), 4 national titles (last in 2004).
|C||Zach Tanida, Sr.||.212/.297/.303||0||4||0|
|1B||Nick Ramirez, Jr.||.346/.395/.646||16||75||6|
|2B||Matt Orloff, So.||.139/.262/.167||0||3||3|
|3B||Joe Terry, Jr.||Tr.—Cerritos (Calif.) College|
|SS||Richy Pedroza, So.||.331/.411/.387||0||22||4|
|LF||Michael Lorenzen, Fr.||HS—Fullerton, Calif.|
|CF||Austin Kingslover, So.||.247/.304/.329||0||12||10|
|RF||Tyler Pill, Jr.||.354/.411/.535||7||42||10|
|DH||Carlos Lopez, So.||.354/.408/.536||7||51||5|
|RHP||Noe Ramirez, Jr.||12-1||2.54||106||119||0|
|RHP||Tyler Pill, Jr.||4-4||3.36||62||58||0|
|RHP||Colin O'Connell, Jr.
|RP||Nick Ramirez, Jr.||1-3||3.50||44||38||11|
Hitting: 60. Replacing departed first-round picks Christian Colon and Gary Brown won't be easy, but Fullerton reloaded as usual. Newcomers Terry and Lorenzen will make huge impacts immediately—both can work counts and hit the ball with authority to all fields. The switch-hitting Pedroza has advanced bat-handling skills and will cause all manner of havoc atop the lineup. It's a lineup full of quality bat-handlers, in fact, as well as line-drive machines like Lopez (perhaps the team's best overall hitter) and Pill. Kingsolver will battle for the center field job with fellow sophomore Anthony Hutting; both are capable of breakout years.
Power: 50. Ramirez is a premier college power hitter, while Terry and Lorenzen provide additional righthanded pop. That duo and Lopez are more gap hitters than sluggers, but all three are at least moderate homer threats.
Speed: 55. The Titans won't be as dynamic on the basepaths without Brown and Colon, but they will remain athletic. Pedroza can fly, while Lorenzen, Orloff and Kingsolver are also good runners.
Defense: 55. Pedroza and Orloff are a promising—if unproven—double-play tandem, and the outfield should be strong. But scouts have long questioned Terry's defense, and catcher is a question mark.
Bullpen: 70. This unit features both depth and a proven anchor in Nick Ramirez, who has used his excellent changeup and good command to rack up 18 saves in two seasons. So. RHP Dylan Floro moves from the starting rotation into the "moment of truth" role in the 'pen, thanks to a resilient, whippy arm and a terrific fastball-slider repertoire. Jr. RHPs Chris Devenski gives the Titans another electric righty who reached the mid-90s in the fall. Sr. RHPs Ryan Ackland and Raymond Hernandez, plus Jr. LHP David Hurlbut, give the bullpen superb depth and a variety of different looks.
Experience/Intangibles: 65. The Titan Mystique means a lot in college baseball. Fullerton is always well coached, fundamentally sound and confident. This group also has loads of experience on the mound, but considerably less in the lineup—especially up the middle.
Baseball America OFP: 65. Fullerton was one out away from its second straight Omaha trip before UCLA stormed back to win the Los Angeles Super Regional. The Titans will be supremely motivated to vanquish that memory, and their pitching is good enough to guide them back to the CWS.
2010 Record (Ranking): 48-16 (NR).
Coach (Record at school): Jim Penders (244-164-2, 7 years).
Postseason History: 16 regional appearances (active streak: 1), 5 CWS appearances (last in 1979), 0 national titles.
|C||Joe Pavone, Sr.||.273/.342/.460||5||20||0|
|1B||Mike Nemeth, Sr.||.386/.470/.650||15||84||1|
|2B||L.J. Mazzilli, So.||.312/.373/.548||3||18||4|
|3B||Ryan Fuller, Jr.||Tr.—UConn-Avery Point JC|
|SS||Nick Ahmed, Jr.||.300/.367/.375||4||43||34|
|LF||Billy Ferriter, So.||.363/.447/.475||0||30||33|
|CF||George Springer, Jr.||.337/.491/.658||18||62||33|
|RF||John Andreoli, Jr.||.362/.419/.454||1||37||24|
|DH||Kevin Vance, Jr.||.322/.393/.520||7||35||5|
|LHP||Elliot Glynn, Sr.||7-3||2.99||87||46||0|
|RHP||Matt Barnes, Jr.||8-3||3.92||83||75||0|
|LHP||Greg Nappo, Sr.||8-5||4.44||97||72||0|
|RP||Kevin Vance, Jr.||1-0||2.41||19||17||8|
Hitting: 65. UConn lost mainstays Pierre LePage and Mike Olt, but the rest of the lineup returns intact. Nemeth, the Huskies' all-time hits leader, is a patient, disciplined RBI machine in the middle of the lineup, and the ultra-aggressive Springer has the hand-eye coordination to hit for average also. Andreoli, Ahmed, Ferriter and Mazilli are athletic, scrappy line-drive hitters who grind out at-bats.
Power: 60. Springer's lightning-quick bat makes him one of the nation's best power hitters. Nemeth and Vance also provide solid power. Olt's replacement, Fuller, has good pop to the gaps.
Speed: 75. The Huskies have loads of speed and aren't afraid to use it on the basepaths—they ranked second in the nation with 171 stolen bases a year ago. They're also efficient basestealers, as evidenced by their 84 percent success rate in 2010. Springer and Ferriter are plus-plus runners who always have the green light. Ahmed, Mazzilli and Andreoli are also above-average runners, and Fuller has solid speed as well.
Defense: 65. UConn is very strong up the middle, as Springer and Ahmed are superb defenders with excellent range and Pavone is an experienced backstop with good catch-and-throw skills. Mazzilli and Fuller both have the athleticism to thrive in starting roles, but both are unproven. Ferriter and Andreoli are strong defenders with far more range than the average corner outfielders.
Bullpen: 60. UConn welcomes back its top three relievers in Vance, Jr. RHP Scott Oberg (5-2, 1.94) and So. RHP Dan Feehan. Vance and Oberg both work around 88-91 and feature quality curveballs and good command. Promising freshmen Brian Ward and David Mahoney add much-needed depth from the left side, while Dave Fischer and Michael Zaccardo provide more righthanded options.
Experience/Intangibles: 60. With seven regulars and nearly the entire pitching staff back in the fold, this is a very seasoned club, and last year gave it invaluable postseason experience. But going beyond that point is uncharted territory.
Baseball America OFP: 65. Connecticut will prove that its school-record 48-win 2010 season was no fluke, as its roster is among the most complete and balanced in college baseball. No New England team has reached Omaha since Maine in 1986, but UConn is well equipped to end that drought.
2010 Record (Ranking): 45-25 (10).
Coach (Record at school): Jack Leggett (769-356-1, 17 years).
Postseason History: 35 regional appearances (active streak: 2), 12 CWS appearances (last in 2010), 0 national titles.
|C||Spencer Kieboom, So.||.263/.333/.351||0||10||0|
|1B||Richie Shaffer, So.||.323/.409/.525||7||36||2|
|2B||Jason Stolz, Jr.||.222/.270/.296||1||14||4|
|3B||John Hinson, Jr.||.351/.410/.598||17||75||25|
|SS||Brad Miller, Jr.||.357/.458/.560||8||49||9|
|LF||Jeff Schaus, Sr.||.320/.397/.542||15||87||9|
|CF||Chris Epps, Sr.||.221/.389/.331||3||16||16|
|RF||Will Lamb, Jr.||.289/.381/.416||4||36||14|
|DH||Phil Pohl, Jr.||.212/.321/.394||1||19||0|
|RHP||Scott Weisman, Jr.||9-2||4.90||97||73||0|
|RHP||Dominic Leone, So.||3-2||4.78||58||40||0|
|RHP||Kevin Brady, So.||1-0||4.58||37||45||1|
|RP||Alex Frederick, Sr.||7-2||3.75||62||54||4|
Hitting: 65. Clemson's talented, veteran-laden lineup returns seven starters. Schaus, Miller and Hinson are pure lefthanded hitters who produce bushels of hard line drives. That trio, along with the much-improved Epps, also excels at driving up pitch counts, helping Clemson rank third in the nation in walks last year. Pohl, Lamb and Stolz also turned corners in the fall, and all have the tools to hit for average.
Speed: 60. Athletes abound in Clemson's lineup. Miller, Lamb, Stolz and Hinson all run better than average. As a team, the Tigers stole bases at an 80 percent success rate last year.
Defense: 50. The Tigers have a chance to be solid defensively, if some of their returnees can take steps forward. Miller has the range and arm strength to play short in the big leagues but has committed 55 errors in two seasons—including a memorable, through-the-legs error on national TV in last year's super regional. Hinson is another fast-twitch athlete who simply needs to become more consistent. Stolz has a chance to be a standout at second base, where he'll replace mainstay Mike Freeman. Kieboom and Shaffer are good defenders, but Schaus and Epps are no better than adequate in the outfield.
Starting Pitching: 55. Clemson suffered a setback when ace lefty Casey Harman signed for $150,000 as a 29th-round pick. Weismann has better pure stuff anyway, with a 90-93 mph sinker and a good slider, and he has the experience and tenacity to anchor the rotation. Leone is another undersized bulldog with a 90-93 fastball and a quality breaking ball. Brady is bigger than either, and flashes a pair of plus pitches in his 90-94 fastball and 12-to-6 curve, but he must show better command and poise this spring. Fr. RHP Kevin Pohle was a major surprise in the fall, showing good feel for his sinker/slider repertoire, and he'll compete for starts midweek or on Sundays.
Bullpen: 60. The rubber-armed Frederick emerged as Clemson's go-to reliever last year thanks to his discovery of a nasty cutter. So. RHP Scott Firth is a quick-armed setup man who can run his fastball up to 93 mph and spin a good breaking ball. Jr. RHP David Haselden, a changeup specialist, and lefties Kevin Kyle and Lamb give this unit good depth.
Experience/Intangibles: 65. Clemson's lineup is brimming with key players from last year's Omaha team, but the weekend rotation must prove itself. Jack Leggett's teams are always known for their blue-collar, grinder mentality.
Baseball America OFP: 65. The Tigers won their first two games in the 2010 CWS before their bats went quiet in two straight losses to rival South Carolina. If its young arms develop the way the coaches believe they can, this team has a chance to make another deep Omaha run.
|11. Arizona State|
2010 Record (Ranking): 52-10 (4).
Coach (Record at school): Tim Esmay (52-10, 1 year).
Postseason History: 34 regional appearances (active streak: 11), 22 CWS appearances (active streak: 2), 5 national titles (last in 1981).
|C||Austin Barnes, Jr.||.272/.364/.388||1||24||5|
|1B||Zach Wilson, Jr.||.349/.423/.591||8||45||4|
|2B||Zack MacPhee, Jr.||.389/.486/.664||9||64||20|
|3B||Riccio Torrez, Jr.||.393/.489/.645||10||54||20|
|SS||Deven Marrero, So.||.397/.442/.628||6||42||11|
|LF||Andrew Aplin, So.||.337/.468/.416||0||14||7|
|CF||Johnny Ruettiger, Jr.||.351/.452/.524||4||35||10|
|RF||Matt Newman, Sr.||.265/.359/.413||2||28||4|
|DH||Jake Barrett, So.||Did not hit in 2010|
|RHP||Brady Rodgers, So.||4-3||2.11||73||67||3|
|RHP||Jake Barrett, So.||2-0||3.41||29||43||2|
|LHP||Kyle Ottoson, Jr.||Tr.— South Mountain (Ariz.) CC.|
|RP||Mitchell Lambson, Jr.||8-2||2.16||75||96||3|
Hitting: 70. The Sun Devils led the Pacific-10 Conference last year in batting, scoring, doubles, triples, homers and walks, among other categories, and they return their top six hitters who started more than 20 games. Marrero, Torrez, MacPhee and Ruettiger are premium offensive players who hit for average and wear out the gaps. Wilson built on his strong sophomore year with a stellar summer in the Cape Cod League, where he showed off his patient approach and ability to make hard contact to all fields. Aplin, Newman and Fr. OF Cory Hahn are hard-nosed players who work counts, make good contact and play above their modest size. Like Florida State and Clemson, Arizona State ranks among the national leaders in walks every year; the Devils will force pitchers to throw strikes, then punish them for it.
Power: 45. ASU lost its biggest home run threat when Kole Calhoun (17 homers) graduated, leaving Torrez as the lone returning Devil who reached double digits in long balls a year ago. But Arizona State's power plays in the gaps—they led the nation in triples, led by MacPhee's 14 and Ruettiger's seven, and they ranked 22nd in doubles. Marrero and Wilson have decent home run pop, too.
Speed: 70. Stolen bases were another category where ASU topped its conference (and ranked eighth nationally) in 2010, though they lost leading basestealer Drew Maggi. Still, MacPhee, Ruettiger, Aplin and Hahn are plus runners, while Marrero and Torrez are solid-average runners whose speed plays up because of their aggressiveness.
Starting Pitching: 55. Arizona State must replace its entire weekend rotation, but its remaining personnel are talented. Rodgers was an ace as a midweek starter and reliever during his freshman year, and his outstanding command of a 90-92 mph fastball, quality curveball and changeup helped him carve up the Cape Cod League over the summer. Barrett showed a fastball that reached 96 mph and a hard slider in a relief role last year, and he's big and durable enough to slide seamlessly into the rotation. Ottoson and Sr. RHP Josh Moody are touch-and-feel southpaws who could compete for the Sunday job, as could Fr. RHP Trevor Williams, a strike-throwing bulldog.
Bullpen: 50. The fearless Lambson is a rock-solid anchor with a superb changeup, excellent command and a resilient arm. The supporting cast is inexperienced and rather thin on power arms. Expect So. RHP Alex Blackford (who owns a knee-buckling curveball) to assume a greater role, and Hahn could give ASU another competitive lefty in the pen.
Experience/Intangibles: 60. Arizona State overcame a tumultuous offseason and dominated 2010 en route to the No. 1 national seed in the NCAA tournament, but went a disappointing 0-2 in Omaha. The lineup features plenty of Omaha veterans, but the pitching staff is much less proven, and it remains to be seen how much the one-year postseason ban imposed by the NCAA this offseason will affect the team's psyche. Certainly, though, the Sun Devils have proven uncommonly tough and resilient.
Baseball America OFP: 65. Arizona State needs to win a long-shot appeal later this spring to regain its postseason eligibility and have a chance to get back to Omaha. But the Devils have the nation's best lineup, giving them a chance to repeat as Pac-10 champions, at least.
|12. Florida State|
2010 Record (Ranking): 48-20 (6).
Coach (Record at school): Mike Martin (1579-538-4, 31 years).
Postseason History: 48 regional appearances (active streak: 36 years), 20 CWS appearances (last in 2010), 0 national titles.
|C||Rafael Lopez, Sr.||.278/.389/.397||2||24||0|
|1B||Jayce Boyd, So.||.326/.394/.507||8||39||4|
|2B||Devon Travis, So.||.276/.331/.436||3||22||5|
|3B||Sherman Johnson, Jr.||.337/.449/.526||10||58||7|
|SS||Justin Gonzalez, So.||.287/.424/.436||3||21||2|
|LF||Mike McGee, Sr.||.328/.438/.600||17||73||5|
|CF||Seth Miller, So.||Tr.—Northwest Florida State JC|
|RF||James Ramsey, Jr.||.287/.430/.517||9||63||11|
|DH||Stuart Tapley, Sr.||.272/.416/.436||7||38||7|
|LHP||Sean Gilmartin, Jr.||9-8||5.24||112||108||0|
|LHP||Brian Busch, Jr.||6-2||3.94||82||73||0|
|RHP||Scott Sitz, So.||5-0||3.76||41||27||0|
|RP||Mike McGee, Sr.||4-1||2.96||27||33||13|
Hitting: 65. Though the Seminoles lost two All-Americans—Stephen Cardullo and the engine of the offense, Tyler Holt—they return seven strong regulars and should have one of the nation's most potent offenses, as usual. McGee and Tapley have raked for years, though Tapley is coming off a down junior year. Ramsey and Johnson emerged as dangerous line-drive hitters as sophomores. Boyd could blossom into the team's most dangerous hitter as a sophomore. Travis, Gonzalez and Lopez are scrappy, and Miller should be a sparkplug. The Seminoles are maddeningly patient, ranking among the national leaders in walks year in and year out—and finishing first in 2010.
Power: 60. McGee, Johnson, Tapley and Ramsey are all solid college power hitters. Boyd might have the most raw power of them all.
Speed: 55. Holt and Cardullo accounted for more than half of FSU's 97 steals a year ago. Travis is a plus runner who figures to be more active on the basepaths as a sophomore. Miller also has very good speed, while Gonzalez and Ramsey are decent runners.
Defense: 60. Miller won't be as good in center as the fantastic Holt was, but he should be at least a solid-average defender. The rangy Gonzalez is unproven at short, but Travis is a very good second baseman, and Lopez is a superb defensive catcher who manages games very well. Boyd is a marquee defender at first, leading a strong group at the four corners.
Starting Pitching: 50. The competitive Gilmartin has two years' experience in the Friday role, though he struggled to put hitters away as a sophomore. Still, he throws strikes with a four-pitch mix and never gives in. The burly Busch lacks overpowering stuff but has good feel for pitching and uses the outer half of the plate effectively. Sitz, who threw a no-hitter in the Alaska League last summer, and hulking Jr. RHP Hunter Scantling will compete for the Sunday job.
Experience/Intangibles: 70. Florida State is loaded with Omaha veterans who simply know how to win. No coaching staff is better than Mike Martin's staff at getting the most out of its talent. FSU excels at minimizing mistakes and exploiting opponents' weaknesses.
Baseball America OFP: 65. Florida State is a strong favorite to win the ACC's Atlantic Division and stands a good chance to reach the College World Series for the 20th time.
2010 Record (Ranking): 31-25 (NR).
Coach (Record at school): Mark Marquess (1387-719-7, 34 years).
Postseason History: 29 regional appearances (active streak: 1), 16 CWS appearances (last in 2008), 2 national titles (last in 1988).
|C||Zach Jones, Sr.||.235/.318/.363||5||21||10|
|1B||Stephen Piscotty, So.||.326/.387/.454||4||36||5|
|2B||Eric Smith, So.||.286/.329/.377||0||29||0|
|3B||Brian Ragira, Fr.||HS—Arlington, Texas|
|SS||Kenny Diekroeger, So.||.356/.391/.491||5||41||1|
|LF||Tyler Gaffney, So.||.328/.406/.470||3||24||2|
|CF||Jake Stewart, So.||.209/.267/.302||2||16||5|
|RF||Austin Wilson, Fr.||HS—Los Angeles|
|LHP||Brett Mooneyham, Jr.||3-7||5.07||87||99||0|
|RHP||Jordan Pries, Jr.||4-4||4.07||97||65||0|
|RHP||A.J. Vanegas, Fr.||HS—Almeida, Calif.|
|RP||Mark Appel, So.||2-1||5.92||38||26||2|
Hitting: 60. Stanford's lineup should be one of the most exciting in the nation, with eight talented underclassmen projected to play every day. Piscotty and Diekroeger are gifted natural hitters who lace hard line drives all around the field. Smith, the lone lefty in the lineup, ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Atlantic Collegiate League last summer thanks to his bat control and gap-to-gap approach. The wiry-strong Ragira has a knack for making contact, and Gaffney has good table-setting skills. Stewart and Jones must bounce back from poor offensive seasons.
Power: 55. Few, if any, college players have more raw power than Wilson, who would have been a first-round pick had he been signable. Ragira also projects for monstrous power, though he's still unlocking it. Diekroeger and Piscotty have solid pop and should improve their home run output as sophomores.
Defense: 55. Jones is a three-year starter behind the plate, giving Stanford a coveted catcher with experience and athleticism. Stewart has the tools to be a brilliant defender in center, Gaffney has outstanding range in left, and Wilson has a rifle arm in right. The infield is athletic but unproven, though Diekroeger should have little trouble handling the move from third base to short.
Starting Pitching: 60. Stanford's staff has a chance to be special if Mooneyham can harness his command. Walks have plagued him throughout his career, and his velocity was down last summer with Team USA, but his talent is prodigious. Pries is a strike-throwing bulldog who attacks hitters with a solid four-pitch mix. Vanegas has a rare combination of polish and stuff, with a fastball that reaches 94 with natural cut and a mid-70s curveball with tight spin. Jr. LHP Scott Snodgress, Jr. RHP Brian Busick and So. RHP Dean McArdle all have starting experience, giving this staff depth and versatility.
Bullpen: 65. Stanford's bullpen is deep and experienced. The anchor is Appel, who ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the New England Collegiate League after running his fastball up to 98 and flashing a plus slider. Jr. LHP Chris Reed, the No. 1 prospect in the ACBL, has a 90-92 mph fastball and a sharp slider in the low 80s. Sr. RHP Danny Sandbrink has less stuff but tons of experience and savvy. Busick, McArdle and Snodgress also will contribute significantly in the 'pen.
Experience/Intangibles: 55. Talent is not a question at Stanford, but experience is another matter. This is a very young team that needs its underclassmen to mature in a hurry. Only the seniors have postseason experience beyond regionals.
Baseball America OFP: 60. After bringing in recruiting classes that ranked No. 2 and No. 1 in the nation, respectively, over the past two years, Stanford is a leading candidate to find itself atop the 2012 preseason rankings. Whether the young Cardinal can reach Omaha a year early is uncertain, but few teams in the nation will be more exciting to watch.
2010 Record (Ranking): 40-24 (25).
Coach (Record at school): George Horton (53-64, 2 years).
Postseason History: 3 regional appearances (active streak: 1), 1 CWS appearance (1954), 0 national titles.
|C||Jack Marder, So.||.249/.344/.391||5||33||7|
|1B||Ryon Healy, Fr.||HS—Encino, Calif.|
|2B||Danny Pulfer, Jr.||.300/.361/.393||3||38||6|
|3B||J.J. Altobelli, So.||.275/.339/.340||1||33||3|
|SS||K.C. Serna, Jr.||.348/.419/.476||5||37||14|
|LF||Marcus Piazzisi, Jr.||.269/.369/.419||3||34||12|
|CF||Andrew Mendenhall, So.||.318/.375/.409||0||5||4|
|RF||Aaron Jones, Fr.||HS—San Clemente, Calif.|
|DH||Shawn Peterson, Sr.||.350/.428/.433||0||19||0|
|LHP||Tyler Anderson, Jr.||7-5||2.98||103||105||0|
|RHP||Madison Boer, Jr.||3-1||2.44||52||48||5|
|LHP||Christian Jones, So.||2-2||3.71||27||21||0|
|RP||Scott McGough, Jr.||5-2||2.45||59||56||4|
Hitting: 55. Oregon's offense improved dramatically from 2009 to 2010, and it should continue to get better in 2011 thanks to the addition of a physical group of freshmen and the continued maturation of its returnees. Pulfer and Serna are skilled bat-handlers who excel at George Horton's small ball style. Marder has a beautiful swing and excellent bat speed that should make him one of the Pac-10's top hitters. Altobelli, Healy and So. IF Ryan Hambright are three more talented line-drive hitters who should rack up doubles. Piazzisi and Jones are scrappy, athletic sparkplugs.
Power: 35. Oregon ranked 262nd in the nation in homers per game a year ago, and though they should have a bit more pop this year, they will continue to rely on their ability to manufacture runs. Healy has a chance to become a premier college power hitter in time, as do fellow freshmen Stefan Sabol and Tyler Kuresa, though that pair is considerably farther behind developmentally. The chiseled Mendenhall also has power potential, but he struggles against righthanded breaking balls and figures to platoon in center with Fr. OF Brett Thomas. Marder and Hambright have strength in their swings too.
Defense: 60. The infield is very steady, and the outfielders cover plenty of ground. Catching is a question mark, but Marder has the gamer makeup and arm strength to handle the transition behind the plate, though his receiving is still a work in progress. Brett Hambright will also get time behind the plate.
Starting Pitching: 65. Pitching has been Oregon's greatest strength since the program returned in 2009, and this year's staff should be its best yet. The polished, funky Anderson attacks the strike zone with a very good four-pitch mix. Boer flashed 96 mph heat and a plus slider while dominating in a relief role last summer in the Northwoods League, and he is physical enough to maintain low-90s heat as a starter. Jones, whose stuff and mentality takes after Anderson, has added about 15 pounds of muscle since his freshman year, making him a prime breakout candidate. Under-the-radar Jr. RHP Alex Keudell is a quality fourth starter.
Bullpen: 60. McGough makes up for his smallish build with his fearlessness and his quick arm, which generates 91-94 mph heat, a good slurve and a plus changeup at times. Fr. LHP Porter Clayton enrolled early this winter to give the 'pen a power lefty who reaches the low 90s and owns a good breaking ball. So. RHP Joey Housey (3-2, 1.88) is a trustworthy setup man.
Experience/Intangibles: 60. Oregon earned valuable regionals experience in its second season and its sights are set much higher in 2011. The coaching staff is one of the best in the business.
Baseball America OFP: 60. Remarkably, it took George Horton and his staff just three years to build an Omaha-caliber club out of thin air. Horton is very confident about his team heading into 2011, and that's reason enough to believe Oregon can make a deep postseason run.
2010 Record (Ranking): 51-14 (8).
Coach (Record at school): Brian O'Connor (316-118-1, 7 years).
Postseason History: 10 regional appearances (active streak: 7), 1 CWS appearance (2009), 0 national titles
|C||John Hicks, Jr.||.307/.361/.488||8||48||9|
|1B||Kenny Swab, Sr.||.328/.428/.484||4||28||2|
|2B||Keith Werman, Jr.||.414/.486/.500||0||23||10|
|3B||Steven Proscia, Jr.||.314/.362/533||10||65||8|
|SS||Chris Taylor, So.||.305/.463/.490||0||7||0|
|LF||David Coleman, Sr.||.217/.367/.391||1||4||0|
|CF||John Barr, Sr.||.373/.483/.622||1||22||7|
|RF||Reed Gragnani, So.||.365/.446/.413||0||18||3|
|DH||Danny Hultzen, Jr.||.281/.388/.439||0||10||3|
|LHP||Danny Hultzen, Jr.||11-1||2.78||107||123||0|
|RHP||Brandon Kline, So.||5-1||3.62||65||56||3|
|RHP||Cody Winiarski, Sr.||5-0||4.68||75||44||0|
|RP||Tyler Wilson, Sr.||8-4||3.41||63||67||3|
Hitting: 60. Virginia will sorely miss departed mainstays Phil Gosselin, Jarrett Parker, Tyler Cannon, Dan Grovatt and Franco Valdes, but the Cavs had a bushel of talented young players waiting in the wings, and they should hit the ground running in 2011. Taylor, Gragnani, Swab and So. SS Stephen Bruno all have line-drive bats that should make them quality players in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Werman, who led the team in hitting a year ago, is a gifted contact hitter and bunter who always seems to execute. Coleman and Barr are also solid contact hitters, and Hultzen grinds out at-bats.
Power: 50. Proscia and Hicks have significant righthanded power potential and are capable of anchoring the middle of the lineup. Swab, Coleman and Taylor have emerging pop as well.
Speed: 55. As usual, Virginia's lineup will be very athletic, though it won't be as fast as it was a year ago. Barr is UVa.'s fastest runner, but Werman, Taylor and Bruno are good baserunners also. Proscia and Hicks move well for their respective sizes. Fr. OF Mitchell Shifflett brings top-of-the-scale speed off the bench.
Defense: 60. The Cavs will have their hands full replacing standout defenders Parker, Cannon and Valdes up the middle. But Barr has excellent range in center, and both Taylor and Bruno have strong arms at short. Hicks has a cannon behind the plate and is improving as a receiver. Werman, who committed just two errors a year ago, is a dynamo at second. Swab can also catch and play the outfield, bringing valuable versatility.
Bullpen: 55. Virginia will miss departed closer Kevin Arico, who racked up 29 saves over the last two years, but the tenacious Wilson has been their moment-of-truth reliever for two years. He has a solid-average fastball, good breaking ball and a rubber arm. UVa. has high hopes for So. RHP Whit Mayberry, who should battle Jr. RHP Shane Halley and Sr. RHP Corey Hunt for setup duties. Freshman Kyle Crockett gives Virginia a much-needed lefty with good feel for pitching.
Experience/Intangibles: 60. Though the Cavs are breaking in a number of new starters, they retain several key veterans from their 2009 CWS run, such as Hultzen, Wilson and Proscia. The coaching staff has proven it knows how to put its players in position to succeed.
Baseball America OFP: 60. The Cavaliers fell one win short of their second straight Omaha trip in 2010, and even with diminished star power they should be a force to be reckoned with in the ACC.
2010 Record (Ranking): 36-24 (NR).
Coach (Record at school): Steve Smith (588-387-1, 16 years).
Postseason History: 16 regional appearances (active streak: 2), 3 CWS appearances (last in 2005), 0 national titles.
|C||Joey Hainsfurther, Jr.||.339/.380/.441||2||48||4|
|1B||Max Muncy, So||.300/.368/.500||11||53||5|
|2B||Steve DalPorto, So.||.278/.316/.389||0||2||0|
|3B||Jake Miller, So.||.238/.324/.492||2||12||1|
|SS||Landis Ware, Sr.||.275/.302/.434||6||38||6|
|LF||Logan Vick, So.||.329/.473/.553||10||27||11|
|CF||Brooks Pinckard, Jr.||.305/.391/.465||2||28||18|
|RF||Cal Towey, So.||.314/.438/.514||3||20||3|
|DH||Josh Ludy, Jr.||.322/.423/.424||0||8||0|
|RHP||Logan Verrett, Jr.||5-3||3.28||91||97||1|
|RHP||Jon Ringenberg, Jr.||5-0||3.69||39||25||0|
|LHP||Josh Turley, So.||4-0||4.14||49||33||1|
|RP||Brooks Pinckard, Jr.||2-4||2.45||33||17||12|
Hitting: 60. After fall ball, one Texas area scout said Baylor has the best offense in the state, with the possible exception of TCU. The Bears are an athletic, hard-working bunch who grind out at-bats up and down the lineup. The disciplined Vick (59 walks, 49 strikeouts last year) and the switch-hitting Hainsfurther make the offense go. Pinckard and DalPorto are pesky slap hitters who handle the bat well. Muncy, Ware and Towey are quality line-drive hitters who should hit for better average in 2011.
Power: 50. Muncey and Towey bring solid pop from the left side. Miller and Ludy have some righthanded power potential but have to prove themselves. Power won't be Baylor's forte, but it shouldn't be a weakness, either.
Speed: 60. Pinckard has well above-average speed. Vick is a plus runner, while DalPorto and Ware are solid runners. Muncy and Towey have decent speed too.
Defense: 60. The departure of Gregg Glime allows Hainsfurther to move behind the plate, where he played some in high school. He has solid receiving and blocking skills, quick feet and a good arm, though he's not overly experienced at the position. Ware made huge strides defensively in the fall, showing a better arm and body control, and more confidence. Miller is a good defender with a strong, accurate arm at third, Muncy is a strong defensive first baseman, and DalPorto is steady. The outfield defense should be outstanding.
Bullpen: 60. The quick-armed Pinckard is an experienced closer who pitches off a 92-93 mph fastball with serious sink. So. RHP Kolt Browder also reaches 93, flashes a plus breaking ball and competes hard, but he must be more consistent. The freshman class is loaded with intriguing arms, headlined by RHP Trae Davis, who is still learning how to pitch but has been clocked at 96 mph at times. RHP Dillon Newman and LHP Brad Kuntz add depth.
Experience/Intangibles: 60. The Bears return plenty of veterans from last year's NCAA tournament team, and their blue-collar mentality is a refreshing change from some of Baylor's underachieving, big name-laden teams of recent years. Still, no one on the roster has super regional experience.
Baseball America OFP: 55. Baylor is balanced, deep and talented enough to win its first regional since 2005.
2010 Record (Ranking): 29-25 (NR).
Coach (Record at school): Dave Esquer (316-290-2, 11 years).
Postseason History: 11 regional appearances (active streak: 1), 5 CWS appearances (last in 1992), 2 national titles (last in 1957).
|C||Chadd Krist, Jr.||.344/.422/.609||10||44||2|
|1B||Devin Rodriguez, So.||.289/.336/.423||3||21||0|
|2B||Tony Renda, So.||.373/.427/.548||3||37||13|
|3B||Mitch Delfino, So.||.315/.405/.411||1||11||3|
|SS||Marcus Semien, Jr.||.328/.400/.497||4||34||5|
|LF||Danny Oh, Jr.||.294/.354/.389||2||30||7|
|CF||Darrel Matthews, So.||.259/.330/.341||0||11||3|
|RF||Chad Bunting, Jr.||.325/.360/.484||4||29||5|
|DH||Austin Booker, Sr.||.267/.353/.311||0||10||4|
|RHP||Erik Johnson, Jr.||6-3||4.09||77||73||1|
|LHP||Justin Jones, So.||10-6||4.22||98||73||0|
|RHP||Dixon Anderson, Jr.||5-4||5.17||77||45||1|
|RP||Matt Flemer, Jr.||2-3||4.83||32||23||4|
Hitting: 60. Cal returns seven starters from a team that ranked second in the Pac-10 in scoring and third in batting a year ago. Renda, who led last year's team in batting and doubles, is a gifted pure hitter who wears out the gaps. Semien's compact swing helped him rank as the No. 8 prospect in the Northwoods League last summer, and Krist is one of the better offensive catchers in the college game. Delfino is also a solid hitter, and Bunting is scrappy. Rodriguez, Oh and Booker have good bat control from the left side, giving the lineup good balance.
Power: 35. No Golden Bear hit more than 10 homers a year ago, and Krist is the only significant long ball threat in the lineup. Cal is loaded with doubles hitters and contact hitters, however.
Speed: 50. Semien and the three outfielders are solid runners, but Cal will rely more on sacrifices and hit-and-runs than on stolen bases.
Starting Pitching: 65. Cal's top three starters are back in the fold, and all three are talented enough to be drafted in the top two rounds should they continue to develop. Johnson's heavy fastball ranges from 90-94 mph, and he adds a stellar changeup, promising curveball and decent slider. The loose-armed, unflappable Jones has advanced feel for pitching, a very good 12-to-6 curveball, a promising changeup and a lively 86-90 fastball. Anderson, like Johnson, throws a heavy fastball that has reached the mid-90s at times, to go along with a curveball and split-finger. Sr. RHP Kevin Miller is an experienced midweek starter with good command and a nice curve.
Bullpen: 45. Cal's bullpen was shaky at times in 2010, and Flemer must be more consistent in the closer role as a junior. He has good control and an out pitch in his curveball. The Bears were hoping Eric Jaffe would give them a power arm in the pen, but he transferred to UCLA after the fall semester. But fellow freshmen Kyle Porter and Louie Lechich give the Bears a pair of polished lefties with good secondary stuff.
Experience/Intangibles: 55. The Bears are loaded with experience in the lineup and the weekend rotation, and they should benefit from getting a taste of regionals in 2010. But Cal hasn't won a regional since 1992.
Baseball America OFP: 55. The administration announced in the fall it would cut the program after the season, and it's unclear whether desperate fund-raising efforts will be enough to save it. The uncertainty could have a galvanizing effect on the players, or it could be a major distraction and derail a team talented enough to reach its first super regional.
2010 Record (Ranking): 40-23 (21).
Coach (Record at school): Wayne Graham (870-340, 19 years).
Postseason History: 16 regional appearances (active streak: 15), 7 CWS appearances (last in 2008), 1 national title (2003).
|C||Craig Manuel, Jr.||.288/.368/.373||1||17||0|
|1B||J.T. Chargois, So.||.250/.250/.250||0||0||0|
|2B||Michael Ratteree, So.||.281/.425/.464||10||64||3|
|3B||Anthony Rendon, Jr.||.394/.530/.801||26||85||14|
|SS||Derek Hamilton, Fr.||HS—Clute, Texas|
|LF||Michael Fuda, Jr.||.346/.491/.519||7||45||6|
|CF||Jeremy Rathjen, Jr.||.317/.396/.584||13||69||0|
|RF||Ryan Lewis, Jr.||DNP—Injury|
|DH||Chase McDowell, So.||.222/.286/.289||0||12||0|
|RHP||Chase McDowell, So.||0-0||3.86||5||5||0|
|LHP||Tony Cingrani, Sr.||1-0||8.59||22||13||0|
|RHP||Matthew Reckling, Jr.||1-1||6.32||16||13||1|
|RP||Tyler Duffey, So.||2-2||5.27||41||45||4|
Power: 60. Rendon, the nation's premier power hitter, has big league power and should continue to mash even with the new bats. The physical Rathjen emerged as a power threat as a sophomore and has gotten even stronger over the offseason. Ratterree, Fuda, and McDowell also have some pop.
Speed: 55. Fuda, a former football wide receiver, has blazing speed and figures to be more aggressive on the basepaths this spring. Rathjen, Lewis, Hamilton, Rendon and Ratterree are all average or better runners also. Chargois runs well for a first baseman. But Rice had just as much or more team speed last year and still ranked just 191st nationally in steals per game.
Defense: 55. Manuel is an excellent defensive catcher and who runs the staff effectively, and Rice has good depth behind the plate with Geoff Perrott and Tyler Pearson. Rendon might be the best defensive player in all of college baseball, a rare talent who can change games with his defense. Chargois and Ratterree have worked hard to improve their defense, and the athletic Hamilton has the tools to be a good defender, though he's still battling Hoelscher for the everyday job. Rathjen is not a prototypical center fielder but has very good instincts. Fuda and Lewis have excellent range.
Starting Pitching: 55. For the second straight year, Rice faces questions on the mound, but it appears to have more answers in 2011 than it had in 2010. McDowell blossomed in the Alaska League last summer, showing an 89-93 mph fastball and a nasty curve that helped him rank as the circuit's No. 5 prospect. Cingrani struggled after transferring from a junior-college last year, but he seemed to turn a corner after overhauling his delivery in the fall, and his velocity climbed into the low 90s. Reckling also had a strong fall, working in the 89-94 range and showing a hard, downer curveball at 79-81. Jr. LHP Taylor Wall, a soft-tossing changeup specialist, gives the Owls a solid fourth starting option. Electric-armed Fr. RHPs Austin Kubitza and John Simms could also force their way into the rotation.
Bullpen: 60. The hard-throwing Duffey is a bulldog who has improved his command and appears ready to hold down the closer job. He could get competition from John Simms, who attacks hitters with an incredibly lively 89-93 fastball and a plus slider at times, though his command is still developing. Kubitza's extremely heavy sinker also touches 93, and his stellar slider reaches 84. Sr. LHP/1B Abe Gonzalez gives the Owls' bullpen a reliable, experienced lefty, and Chargois is another two-way talent with a power arm.
Experience/Intangibles: 60. When evaluating teams in the state, Texas area scouts consistently give Rice bonus points for its outstanding coaching staff, which helps players maximize their ability. Still, this is not a terribly experienced team outside a few key veterans.
Baseball America OFP: 55. Rice has more question marks heading into the season than usual, but Rice is still Rice. The talent level, depth and intangibles are there, and if the young players mature quickly, Wayne Graham might yet achieve his desire to get Rendon to Omaha.
2010 Record (Ranking): 34-24 (NR).
Coach (Record at school): Andy Lopez (316-208, 9 years).
Postseason History: 31 regional appearances (active streak: 1), 15 CWS appearances (last in 2004), 3 national titles (last in 1986).
|C||Jett Bandy, Jr.||.354/.444/.538||6||42||4|
|1B||Cole Frenzel, So.||.286/.421/.312||0||6||0|
|2B||Bryce Ortega, Sr.||.266/.397/.277||0||7||10|
|3B||Seth Mejias-Brean, So.||.310/.384/.396||1||34||5|
|SS||Alex Mejia, So.||.319/.360/.396||1||36||5|
|LF||Robert Refsnyder, So.||.344/.403/.440||2||40||6|
|CF||Joey Rickard, So.||.307/.374/.471||8||51||13|
|RF||Steve Selsky, Jr.||.370/.448/.609||9||52||11|
|DH||Josh Garcia, Sr.||.250/.350/.462||3||13||0|
|RHP||Kurt Heyer, So.||7-4||3.26||102||109||0|
|RHP||Kyle Simon, Jr.||8-6||4.27||110||62||0|
|RHP||Tyler Hale, So.||1-1||5.71||41||41||1|
|RP||Bryce Bandilla, Jr.||6-4||4.07||77||70||1|
|Hitting: 65. The Wildcats welcome back 10 players who started at least 20 games a year ago, including six of their top seven hitters (all of whom started at least 50 games in 2010). Rickard is a quality table-setter atop the lineup, while Mejia and Ortega are good situational hitters who handle the bat well. Bandy and Selsky are the team's most dangerous offensive players—gap-to-gap hitters with good approaches. Refsnyder and Mejias-Brean are outstanding athletes who showed flashes of excellence as freshmen, and both posted strong falls.
Speed: 65. Arizona's power and speed (as well as spacious Kindall Field at Sancet Park) help account for the 27 triples it hit last year—seventh-most in the nation. All three outfielders have good speed, and Sr. OF Bobby Rinard is a burner off the bench. Ortega, Mejias-Brean and Mejia are solid runners also, though the sophomores must be more efficient on the basepaths this year.
Defense: 60. Defense went from a strength to a weakness for the young Wildcats in the second half of 2010, but they have the athleticism to be a very strong unit this spring. The return of Ortega, who missed time a year ago with a back injury, should help stabilize the infield. Both Mejia and Mejias-Brean are working to become more consistent defenders, but both have standout ability. Rickard and Selsky have good range in the outfield, while Selsky and Bandy have very strong arms.
Starting Pitching: 55. Heyer and Simon give Arizona a quality one-two punch atop the rotation. The ferocious Heyer attacks hitters with a four-pitch mix, highlighted by a fastball that reaches the low 90s. He had great command but needs to develop an out pitch. Simon's 89-92 fastball with bowling ball sink helped him dominate the Cape Cod League last summer. He also has a good splitter and is at his best when he's commanding his slider. Hale has a good fastball-curveball repertoire but must do a better job getting ahead in counts. He'll compete for the Sunday job with Fr. RHP Ponce de Leon, who also can run his fastball into the low 90s.
Bullpen: 50. Bandilla has power stuff at the back of the bullpen, with a low to mid-90s fastball and a power breaking ball, but he must prove he has the control to handle pressure situations. So. RHP Nick Cunningham, who closed during the first half of 2010, struggles similarly with his control at times, but his fastball and cutter can be very effective. JC transfer Pulama Silva, who was injured in the fall, is another late-innings candidate.
Experience/Intangibles: 55. Arizona played boatloads of underclassmen in 2010, and though many of its freshmen wore down late in the season, the team still found a way into regionals. Now the sophomore and juniors have plenty of experience, including a taste of the postseason. Coach Andy Lopez loves the blue-collar makeup and clubhouse chemistry his team has demonstrated.
Baseball America OFP: 55. If Arizona's pitching comes together, it should hang in the ultra-competitive Pac-10 race and get back to regionals, where expectations will be raised.
|20. College of Charleston|
2010 Record (Ranking): 44-19 (NR).
Coach (Record at school): Monte Lee (79-41, 2 years).
Postseason History: 4 regional appearances (active streak: 1), 0 CWS appearances.
|C||Rob Kral, Jr.||.344/.482/.614||15||57||4|
|1B||Jose Rodriguez, Jr.||.355/.431/.633||16||69||4|
|2B||Jesse Mesa, Sr.||.287/.328/.393||1||14||4|
|3B||Matt Leeds, Jr.||.326/.433/.690||21||88||1|
|SS||Jamie Holler, Sr.||.286/.313/.429||4||26||2|
|LF||Daniel Aldrich, Fr.||DNP—Redshirted|
|CF||Cole Rakar, Sr.||.378/.463/.581||8||54||20|
|RF||Marty Gantt, Jr.||Tr.—Spartanburg Methodist (S.C.) JC|
|DH||Dre Watts, So.||.419/.486/.742||3||14||0|
|RHP||David Peterson, Jr.||8-3||5.30||87||68||0|
|RHP||Josh Salay, Sr.||2-3||6.75||53||53||1|
|RHP||Christian Powell, So.||7-4||6.84||79||63||0|
|RP||Casey Lucchese, Sr.||4-0||3.18||39||52||0|
|Hitting: 65. Six regulars return from a CofC team that ranked seventh nationally in scoring a year ago (9.1 runs per game) and ninth in doubles (160). Rakar, the 2010 Southern Conference hits leader, is a dynamic catalyst at or near the top of the order. Kral, Rodriguez and Leeds are accomplished, dangerous veterans in the middle of the lineup. The scrappy Holler has a knack for coming up with timely hits and came on strong in the postseason. The athletic Mesa, who started 29 games last year, should increase his productivity in an everyday role.
Power: 65. Charleston's 105 homers were fifth-most in the nation last year, and three of the four Cougars who hit at least 15 long balls a year ago are back. The switch-hitting Leeds leads the way; the reigning SoCon player of the year is an RBI machine (he ranked second in the nation in the category last year) who has proven to be a productive college power hitter. Rodriguez and Kral are boppers in their own right, and Aldrich also has flashed good raw power. Gantt hit 21 homers in junior-college ball last year, but most of his power is to the gaps. The only question is whether Charleston's pop will play with the new toned-down bats, because the lineup is filled with quality college-caliber sluggers, rather than players with pro power.
Speed: 50. Rakar and Gantt are plus runners, and Mesa has at least average speed. The Cougars ran some last year, but they are known more for bludgeoning opponents with the long ball.
Defense: 50. Charleston's defense is average—it doesn't stand out, but it's not a liability. Holler is a very steady defender at short, and Mesa has the athleticism and actions to replace mainstay Joey Bergman at second. Rakar is very good in center, but CofC is not special on any of its corners. Kral is experienced but is known more for his bat.
Starting Pitching: 55. Four of Charleston's top five starters are back, and the rotation has a chance to quite good as the season unfolds. Peterson is a veteran anchor with two years' experience in the weekend rotation; his three-pitch mix is highlighted by an 88-92 sinker. Salay had an up-and-down 2010 in a midweek role but showed 91-93 mph heat and a good cutter in the fall. Powell, the team's best prospect, spent time as the Friday starter as a freshman, showing promise but also taking his lumps. He works in the 87-91 range and features an excellent changeup and solid breaking ball. So. LHP Jake Zokan, who made seven starts last year, will compete for midweek starts with JC transfer Ryan West, a classic sinker/slider guy.
Bullpen: 50. Fireballer Heath Hembree is gone, but he was inconsistent in the closer role anyway. Lucchese, an unsigned 39th-rounder as a junior, was the team's most reliable reliever last year, and he should do fine as the closer thanks to an 88-92 fastball and a swing-and-miss curve. Watts is a two-way player who could serve as the setup man thanks to a good 87-91sinker, solid curveball and change.
Experience/Intangibles: 60. Charleston returns loads of veterans from a 44-win team that pushed Coastal Carolina to the max in regionals. The Cougars have proven tenacious and resilient.
Baseball America OFP: 55. CofC looks capable of getting back to super regionals for the first time since 2006. If its arms develop as hoped, it might even have a shot to go deeper than that.
|21. Texas A&M|
2010 Record (Ranking): 43-21-1 (23).
Coach (Record at school): Rob Childress (199-113-2, 5 years).
Postseason History: 26 regional appearances (active streak: 4), 4 CWS appearances (last in 1999), 0 national titles.
|C||Kevin Gonzalez, Sr.||.318/.357/.510||9||38||5|
|1B||*Jacob House, Jr.||.260/.310/.365||2||15||0|
|2B||Andrew Collazo, Sr.||.245/.328/.319||3||22||12|
|3B||Adam Smith, Jr.||.268/.359/.500||10||42||11|
|SS||Kenny Jackson, Sr.||.263/.378/.298||0||9||3|
|LF||Brandon Wood, So.||206/.305/.309||0||8||5|
|CF||Scott Arthur, Jr.||.218/.314/.282||0||8||20|
|RF||Tyler Naquin, So.||.244/.327/.326||2||19||6|
|DH||Matt Juengel, Jr.||.359/.421/.629||11||39||2|
|* Stats from 2009 at Arkansas|
|RHP||John Stilson, Jr.||9-1||0.80||79||144||10|
|RHP||Michael Wacha, So.||9-2||2.90||106||97||1|
|LHP||*Ross Hales, So.||6-2||4.11||77||76||0|
|RP||Ross Stripling, Jr.||6-5||4.50||88||89||0|
|* Stats from 2009|
|Hitting: 45. The Aggies ranked last in the Big 12 and 218th in the nation in scoring (6.2 runs per game) in 2010, and they lost two of their top three hitters in Brodie Greene and Joe Patterson. Clearly, they need better seasons from returnees like Arthur, Naquin and Collazo, all of whom are high-energy players capable of getting on base more consistently. Naquin, in particular, has a smooth lefthanded swing and looks primed for a breakout. Jackson, Wood and Arthur will move into starting roles, bringing more athleticism and energy. Gonzalez has steadily improved at the plate during his career, and Juengel has quietly emerged as one of the best hitters in the Big 12.
Power: 40. A lack of power appears to be A&M's greatest weakness, but the lineup isn't completely punchless. Smith has big-time power potential but must cut down on his strikeout rate. Juengel and Gonzalez have sneaky power from the right side, and the Aggies are counting on House to bring some lefthanded pop.
Speed: 65. The Aggies will lean heavily on their team speed to disrupt opposing pitchers and generate runs. A&M says Arthur has game-changing speed and instincts, but he must get on base to make full use of it. Naquin and Collazo are plus runners, while Smith, Jackson, Juengel and Wood have average speed.
Defense: 60. Gonzalez is the glue of Texas A&M's defense, an advanced receiver and good thrower who manages the pitching staff very well. Collazo and Arthur give the Aggies two more standouts up the middle, and Jackson is steady, though his range is just adequate. Smith and Naquin both have legit plus-plus arm strength.
Bullpen: 55. Stripling made 17 starts a year ago but looks well suited for his new role at the back of the bullpen, thanks to a 90-94 mph fastball and excellent curve. So. LHP Brandon Parrent, who won 11 games last year to lead Temple (Texas) JC to the World Series, could emerge as a go-to reliever thanks to an 88-92 fastball and good curve, but he's still fine-tuning his command. The Aggies need righties Jake Feckley and Denny Clement to come back strong from injury to add depth.
Experience/Intangibles: 50. The Aggies have plenty of mound veterans from last year's regionals team, but the everyday lineup is largely unproven. And A&M has yet to prove it can get over the hump into Omaha.
Baseball America OFP: 55. Texas A&M's pitching is good enough to shoulder much of the load in 2011, but its offense must improve for the Aggies to have a chance to make a deep postseason run.
|22. Louisiana State|
2010 Record (Ranking): 41-22 (NR).
Coach (Record at school): Paul Maineri (175-84-2, 4 years).
Postseason History: 24 regional appearances (active streak: 3), 15 CWS appearances (last in 2009), 6 national titles (last in 2009).
|C||Tyler Ross, Fr.||HS—Naples, Fla.|
|1B||Alex Edward, So.||.314/.388/.441||2||15||0|
|2B||Tyler Hanover, Jr.||.332/.406/.429||2||35||5|
|3B||JaCoby Jones, Fr.||HS—Richton, Miss.|
|SS||Austin Nola, Jr.||.320/.386/.456||5||52||1|
|LF||Trey Watkins, Jr.||.268/.423/.423||2||15||14|
|CF||Mikie Mahtook, Jr.||.335/.433/.623||14||50||22|
|RF||Mason Katz, So.||.318/.388/.364||0||5||0|
|DH||Raph Rhymes, So.||Tr.—LSU-Eunice JC|
|RHP||Ben Alsup, Sr.||5-1||3.88||49||33||0|
|RHP||Kevin Gausman, Fr.||HS—Centennial, Colo.|
|RHP||Tyler Jones, Fr.||Tr. —Madison Area (Wis.) Tech JC|
|RP||Matty Ott, Jr.||2-4||6.38||42||40||11|
Hitting: 55. LSU's lineup will have a new look without departed stalwarts Micah Gibbs, Blake Dean and Leon Landry—the team's top three hitters a year ago. The electrifying Mahtook—a freakish athlete who never takes his foot off the pedal—becomes the centerpiece of the lineup, along with the 5-foot-6 Hanover, whose explosive hips and hands help him lace hard line drives from gap to gap. Nola is another quality gap hitter with a knack for getting on base. Watkins was a sparkplug atop the lineup in 2010 before missing time with a dislocated elbow, and he should re-emerge as a pesky table-setter this spring. Edward and Katz emerged down the stretch in 2010 and should make jumps as sophomores playing every day. Rhymes is simply a hitting machine—he batted .483 in JC ball last year. Fellow newcomer Jones, an anchor of LSU's second-ranked recruiting class, has excellent bat speed and should be a plus hitter before long.
Power: 45. Mahtook isn't afraid to take a big swing and can hit the ball a long way when he connects. Ross and Jones should also grow into solid home run power, but it's unclear how much will materialize during their freshman campaigns. Katz has some pull power. The rest of the lineup employs more of a gap-to-gap approach.
Defense: 60. LSU's middle infield is one of the nation's best, as both Nola and Hanover are premier college defenders at their positions. The same goes for the rangy Mahtook in center. Katz and Edwards aren't standout defenders but are versatile enough to play infield or outfield corners. Watkins covers plenty of ground in left, and Jones has the range, actions and arm strength to be a standout at third. He and Ross—who has a very strong arm behind the plate—must prove themselves as defenders at the D-I level, however.
Starting Pitching: 50. Starting pitching is LSU's greatest question mark heading into the season, but it has a chance to become an asset by season's end. Alsup, like Katz, came into his own in the Southeastern Conference tournament in 2010, impressing Mainieri with his ability to work down in the zone with a fringe-average fastball, solid changeup and good slider. Gausman was the crown jewel of LSU's banner recruiting haul, a future ace with a mid-to-upper-90s fastball and a breaking ball that improved dramatically this fall after he escaped the thin air of Colorado. Jones, a polished junior-college transfer, reaches the low 90s and features a good curve. Sr. RHP Daniel Bradshaw gives LSU an experienced fourth starter.
Bullpen: 60. Ott is a proven championship-caliber closer with 27 career saves. He struggled for much of 2010 but seemed to find his stride again in the Cape Cod League, pounding the zone with a deceptive 87-89 fastball from a low three-quarters slot. So. RHP Kevin Berry, a transfer from New Orleans who also pitched well in the Cape, could be the primary setup man. R-Fr. LHP Forrest Garrett, Fr. LHP Mitchell Hopkins and Fr. RHP Ryan Eades give the bullpen a trio of exciting—but unproven—power arms.
Experience/Intangibles: 55. With an entirely new weekend rotation and a host of everyday players taking on full-time roles for the first time, LSU will lean heavily on the leadership of veterans Nola, Mahtook, Hanover and Ott. Mainieri has proven to be a master of pushing the right buttons to get the most out of his team.
Baseball America OFP: 55. Heading into the spring, this team reminds Mainieri of his 2008 team, which featured a similarly large class of talented newcomers around a veteran core. That team wound up in Omaha. To follow in those footsteps, this team would have to exceed expectations—just like the '08 team did.
|23. St. John's|
2010 Record (Ranking): 43-20 (NR).
Coach (Record at school): Ed Blankmeyer (513-305-3, 15 years).
Postseason History: 32 regional appearances (active streak: 1), 6 CWS appearances (last in 1980), 0 national titles.
|C||Joe Witkowski, Sr.||.220/.304/.284||0||8||0|
|1B||Paul Karmas, Sr.||.321/.390/.544||9||56||1|
|2B||Matt Wessinger, Jr.||.312/.370/.464||6||52||9|
|3B||Sean O'Hare, So.||.347/.395/.463||1||30||5|
|SS||Joe Panik, Jr.||.374/.477/.621||10||53||6|
|LF||Jeremy Baltz, So.||.396/.479/.771||24||85||6|
|CF||Scott Ferrara, Sr.||.281/.408/.367||1||29||21|
|RF||Jimmy Brennan, So.||.276/.372/.373||2||20||5|
|DH||Rowan Wick, Fr.||HS—North Vancouver, B.C.|
|RHP||Kyle Hansen, So.||8-3||3.71||95||85||0|
|LHP||Sean Hagan, So.||5-1||4.85||56||53||0|
|RHP||Matt Carasiti, So.||7-4||5.94||53||34||0|
|RP||Kevin Kilpatrick, Jr.||2-1||3.48||44||31||0|
|Hitting: 60. Seven regulars return from a St. John's lineup that ranked second in the Big East in batting (.329) and pushed Virginia to the brink in the Charlottesville Regional. The lineup is built around the fearsome Baltz, who earned first-team All-America honors as a freshman. Panik, who ranked as the No. 24 prospect in the prestigious Cape Cod League last summer, consistently barrels balls with an easy lefthanded swing and has good control of the strike zone. Ferrara, Brennan and Wessinger are table-setters who grind out at-bats, while O'Hare and Karmas are consistent line-drive hitters.
Speed: 50. Ferrara and Brennan have good speed in the outfield and on the basepaths. Panik and Wessinger are solid runners as well.
Defense: 60. St. John's is very sound up the middle, as Witkowski has a strong arm behind the plate, Panik and Wessinger are an athletic double-play tandem with good actions, and Ferrara covers plenty of ground in center. The Johnnies should be solid on the corners, too, and should improve on their middle-of-the-pack fielding percentage from a year ago.
Starting Pitching: 50. The Red Storm's weekend starters excel at throwing strikes and competing. Hansen, a freshman All-American a year ago and the younger brother of former St. John's star Craig, has a solid-average fastball with very good life and a swing-and-miss slider. The towering Hagan attacks hitters with a high-80s fastball and has advanced feel for pitching. Carasiti runs his fastball up to 92 and has a good low-80s changeup and 75-77 curve.
Bullpen: 50. Kilpatrick came up huge for St. John's in regionals last year. He doesn't have overpowering stuff, but he can add and subtract from his fastball—which he spots well—and has a very good changeup. So. RHP Anthony Cervone is a more typical power closer candidate, with a fastball that reaches the low 90s and a good slider, but he must improve his consistency. Jr. RHP Eddie Medina is an aggressive strike-thrower who figures to shoulder more of the load this year.
Experience/Intangibles: 55. St. John's will miss veterans like Bruce Kern, Ryan Cole and Daniel Burawa on the mound, but its talented young pitchers gained invaluable experience in regionals last year. The lineup has plenty of experience, and Ed Blankmeyer's teams always play hard.
Baseball America OFP: 50. Last year, Blankmeyer wanted to show people there is good college baseball in the North, too, and his Johnnies backed him up. They should contend for the Big East title this year and have a chance to send the program to its first super regional.
2010 Record (Ranking): 43-20 (15).
Coach (Record at school): Jim Morris (776-298-3, 17 years).
Postseason History: 39 regional appearances (active streak: 38), 23 CWS appearances (last in 2008), 4 national titles (last in 2001).
|C||David Villasuso, Jr.||.245/.298/.472||5||20||0|
|1B||*Cade Kreuter, So.||.283/.392/.474||8||24||2|
|2B||Michael Broad, So.||.343/.420/.580||7||28||8|
|3B||Harold Martinez, Jr.||.295/.367/.598||21||69||5|
|SS||Stephen Perez, So.||.255/.367/.423||8||38||24|
|LF||Zeke DeVoss, So.||.251/.364/.450||9||33||24|
|CF||Nathan Melendres, Jr.||.301/.364/.468||9||35||14|
|RF||Chris Pelaez, Sr.||.314/.365/.517||11||53||3|
|DH||Dale Carey, Fr.||HS.—Marietta, Ga.|
|*Stats at Southern California|
|RHP||Eric Whaley, So.||5-1||4.28||48||51||0|
|RHP||E.J. Encinosa, So.||1-1||2.20||49||61||0|
|LHP||Steven Ewing, So.||2-2||5.18||24||15||0|
|RP||Danny Miranda, Jr.||5-3||3.23||47||59||5|
Power: 50. Martinez has prodigious raw power and punishes mistakes, though he's pitchable. Kreuter, a USC transfer who got an exemption to play right away at Miami after his father was fired as the Trojans' head coach, also has good power potential. Carey projects for some pop as well, but scouts question his swing. Pelaez has gap power.
Speed: 70. Athleticism and team speed are Miami's greatest assets, and they make the Hurricanes particularly dangerous in the new era of less potent bats. DeVoss, Melendres and Carey are genuine speed merchants with plus-plus wheels. Perez is a good runner whose speed plays up further because of his instincts. Pelaez and Broad are also solid-average or slightly better runners.
Defense: 60. Miami expects its defense to be strong despite the loss of Grandal, an elite defensive catcher. But the 'Canes say Fr. C Shane Rowland is even more advanced than Grandal was at the same age, and he'll battle Villasuso for playing time. Perez has the instincts, range and arm strength to be a premium shortstop, and Broad should be a steady double-play partner. Martinez has a strong arm but must improve upon last year's .876 fielding percentage. Good luck finding a group of outfielders in college baseball who cover more ground than Miami's.
Starting Pitching: 45. The Hurricanes must replace their top four starters on the mound. As freshmen, Whaley and Encinosa both showed 89-91 fastballs with good arm-side run and sink, and Encinosa has reached 94 at times. He also flashes a promising power curveball, while Whaley can miss bats with his slider. Ewing and freshman Bryan Radziewski are pitchability lefties with good life on their fringy fastballs and quality breaking balls.
Bullpen: 55. The bullpen is the strength of the pitching staff—as usual for a Jim Morris team. Miranda is the staff's most reliable pitcher, a deceptive, competitive southpaw with a lively fastball and a slider he can throw for strikes or bury. He also has a good changeup and controls the running game well. Jr. LHP Sam Robinson is another quality lefty, a soft-tossing low three-quarters guy who eats up lefthanded hitters. Michael Rudman, Travis Miller and Adam Sargent provide good depth of righthanded options.
Experience/Intangibles: 60. Miami might lack proven weekend starters, but its lineup is loaded with veterans who played key roles on last year's super regional team. Morris is one of the best coaches in the business, adept at getting the most out of the talent at his disposal.
Baseball America OFP: 50. The Hurricanes will be in regionals—that much is as inevitable as death and taxes. How far they go will depend upon how quickly their young pitching matures.
2010 Record (Ranking): 32-24 (NR).
Coach (Record at school): Rick Jones (705-355-2, 17 years).
Postseason History: 19 regional appearances (last in 2008), 2 CWS appearances (last in 2005), 0 national titles.
|C||Jeremy Schaffer, Jr.||.286/.360.531||12||52||1|
|1B||Matt Ryan, Jr.||.314/.406/.410||2||30||4|
|2B||Brennan Middleton, So.||.265/.338/.359||3||34||1|
|3B||Nick Schneeberger, Jr.||Tr.—Hinds (Miss.) CC|
|SS||Garrett Cannizaro, So.||.322/.399/.427||4||29||2|
|LF||Blake Crohan, So.||.340/.428/.516||8||42||4|
|CF||Nick Boullosa, Sr.||.269/.349/.413||2||21||7|
|RF||Brandon Boudreaux, So.||.323/.404/.434||4||33||4|
|DH||*Frank Florio, Jr.||.304/.379/.430||3||16||0|
|* Stats from 2009 at Stetson|
|RHP||Conrad Flynn, Sr.||3-7||4.57||85||60||0|
|RHP||Randy Leblanc, Fr.||HS—Abita Springs, La.|
|RHP||Robby Broach, Jr.||7-3||5.40||77||76||0|
|RP||Nick Pepitone, Sr.||6-0||2.28||43||42||8|
Hitting: 55. Tulane, like Arizona, relied heavily on a large, talented group of freshmen in the lineup last year. The youngsters took their lumps in 2010, but they also showed glimmers of great promise, and the experience should benefit the Green Wave in 2011. Tulane doesn't have a star in the lineup to replace leading hitter Rob Segedin, but its offense should be deep, balanced and gritty. Boullosa and Boudreaux grind out at-bats from the left side, and Florio adds another solid lefty bat. But Cannizaro and Middleton really make Tulane go, while Schaffer and Crohan will be counted on to drive in runs.
Power: 40. Schaffer, Schneeberger and Crohan figure to provide decent pop, but Tulane won't rely heavily on the long ball.
Speed: 50. Tulane stole just 30 bases last year—271st in the nation—but the team has plenty of athleticism and should run more in 2011. Boullosa and Boudreaux can fly, while Cannizaro and Middleton are decent runners.
Defense: 60. Defense should be a strength for the Green Wave this spring. Cannizaro and Middleton form a slick double-play tandem, and Schaffer is a solid veteran behind the plate. Boullosa and Boudreaux have excellent range in the outfield, but the infield corners are unproven.
Starting Pitching: 60. Flynn and Broach did not pitch up to Tulane's expectations in 2010, and they must perform better this spring for the Green Wave to make a postseason run. But few teams have two weekend starters with more experience. Flynn, whose three-pitch mix includes an 87-90 fastball, is one of the nation's best control pitchers—as a sophomore he had more wins (eight) than walks (seven). Broach is similarly wily and relies heavily on an excellent changeup. Scouts in the region insist Leblanc is destined to be an ace; he already runs his fastball up to 95 and flashes a plus curveball, and he's a dogged competitor. So. RHP Kyle McKenzie was the biggest name (and biggest arm) in the previous recruiting class, and though he struggled as a freshman, he turned a corner this fall, giving Tulane an intriguing fourth starter option.
Experience/Intangibles: 55. Tulane has loads of veterans on the mound, and though its lineup still features plenty of underclassmen, they are now experienced underclassmen. But few Green Wave players were around for the team's last trip to regionals in 2008.
Baseball America OFP: 50. Finally, Tulane appears to have restocked the cupboards that were emptied by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. The Green Wave looks like a solid, balanced club that has no longer has any excuse not to make a regional.